New 'hyper-local' political party to run in Greater Manchester town for May 2024 elections

The new party will have candidates run next year
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A new ‘hyper-local’ political party has formed in Bury, with candidates expected to stand in local elections next May. Bury Independents, led by Steve Middleton, said the party hoped to follow the example set by Radcliffe First, who in recent years have gained electoral success in the town and currently hold eight seats on the 51-strong, Labour led Bury Council.

Bury Independents said the five founding members are ‘community campaigners from Unsworth, Whitefield, Prestwich, Bury and Radcliffe’. Information on the party’s website states Mr Middleton is a civil servant who grew up in Unsworth and Whitefield and attended Castlebrook school and Bury College.

He said he had been a community campaigner since 2009 and was one of the co-founders of Bury Independents. He said: “As a small group of experienced local community campaigners, we collectively decided we’d had enough of the political games and poor decision making that has blighted Bury.

“The five of us have come together to form Bury Independents and we are hoping more people will join once we’ve explained to Bury folk how we hope to change the status quo on the council. “Bury Independents will stand candidates in next year’s local elections, due to take place on May 2.”

He added that some priorities of the party would be ‘fighting against building on Bury’s green belt, campaigning for better school standards and cheaper school uniforms, challenging the neglect of Bury’s roads and pushing for transparent decision making’.

The party’s website also listed other founding members as Judi Sheppard, deputy leader and elections officer, Phil Smith-Lawrence, media and communications lead, Alan Bayfield, research and policy lead and Karen Pitt as party treasurer. Mr Middleton said Bury Independents application as a political party was submitted to the Electoral Commission earlier this month. The Electoral Commission website confirmed the application to enable the party to stand in elections.

Steve Middleton, who is leader of the new Bury Independents partySteve Middleton, who is leader of the new Bury Independents party
Steve Middleton, who is leader of the new Bury Independents party

They said: “We publish names, descriptions and emblems which we are currently considering as part of our assessment process. “Political parties can’t use these names, descriptions and emblems on a ballot paper until we have approved them.

“However, a party can use these names, descriptions and emblems in other materials before our approval.” Bury Council is currently made up of 31 Labour members, there are 11 Conservative councillors, eight Radcliffe First and one Independent.

Next May’s elections will see a third of the seats on Bury Council contested.